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More To Go: Several projects in Kashmir at halt for money or land

Srinagar, Dec 4: The governor administration might have approved 1,200 small projects in the state, yet several major projects in Kashmir are stuck at various stages for want of funds and land.

For the last one month, the High-Powered Committee (HPC) constituted for ensuring assured funding to languishing projects cleared around 1,200 projects involving a cumulative investment of Rs 2,720.87 crore.

The governor administration has, however, not taken any decision on several major projects lingering for the last so many years.

The government has, for instance, decided not to fund a decade-old project for widening an arterial passage in the capital city—Syed Meerak Shah-Zakura road—under the first phase of newly-carved scheme.

An official of Roads and Buildings Department said this road widening project would not come under the languishing projects in the first phase.

“This project is facing financial implication for land acquisition. The work has either been stopped or going at slow pace at few places,” the official said.

The incompletion of the project is affecting the traffic movement, causing inconvenience to the public.

In 2009, the then-authorities started expansion of the Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura, primarily for facilitating smooth flow of vehicular movement through congested areas of the old city.

The widening project for the 10.33 kilometer road estimated at Rs 336.24 crore was aimed to serve as key surface link to old city Srinagar, Hazratbal shrine and the University of Kashmir.

Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings Department, Kashmir, Sami Arif, said there were several projects facing hurdles due to land acquisition.

“They will be taken up for execution later,” he said, without elaborating the details.

Similarly, the state needs Rs 759 crore more to purchase land for the semi-ring road projects in Srinagar and Jammu cities.

A source said farmers were not willing to sell land at the prices offered by the government.

The work on the Rs 3,833-crore project, whose foundation was laid by the Prime Minister in May, has slowed down because of the fund shortage.

About 12,450 kanals of land is to be acquired for the roads, of which 10,911 kanals are agricultural land.

Similarly, over two dozen projects, each worth Rs 1,000 crore or more, taken up under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) three years ago are stuck at various stages.

For instance, the detailed project reports have been submitted in few projects of the 13 road and tunnel projects.

For completion of projects, Anantnag district requires Rs 200 crore, while Baramulla district needs Rs 104 crore for completion of the projects.

“There has been hardly any progress in these projects,” the source said.